February 21, 2008, 12:00 AM

Shop.com attracts new merchants by offering multiple advertising options

As Shop.com offers multiple advertising options, the comparison shopping engine continues to add clients. Among the most recent additions are Overstock.com and The Prepared Pantry.

A year after Shop.com began offering multiple advertising options-including cost-per-order and display advertising-the comparison shopping engine continues to add new clients. Among the most recent additions are Overstock.com and The Prepared Pantry, both of which chose Shop.com’s cost-per-order option.

Shop.com began offering multiple advertising options this month. Under the cost-per-order model, Shop.com takes all the marketing risk and merchants only pay a commission-a percentage of the sale-when they receive orders. This program is made possible by Shop.com’s OneCart technology and is available only to merchants who meet the site’s “Trusted Merchant” certification criteria.

Merchants also can choose the cost-per-click model, which gives merchants the ability to have product listings integrated into Shop.com’s search engine for a flat fee, or cost-per-thousand display advertising.

“We’ve come to a point of view that choice is what’s most effective for the merchant, so we want to offer maximum choice in how they reach out to customers,” says Ken Goldstein, Shop.com chairman and CEO. “And from a customer standpoint, it’s equally viable and enticing for them to be able to explore through cost-per-click, cost-per-order or cost-per-thousand.”

Even though cost-per-click advertising currently is the most popular choice, Goldstein says he expects that within a year, half of Shop.com’s merchants will be using cost-per-order and the other half using cost-per-click. Virtually all the merchants will take advantage of display advertising at one time or another, he says.

“Our feeling about the shopping comparison world is that it’s been too powerfully dominated by technical solutions and not enough dominated by creative marketing solutions,” Goldstein says. “We think the right answer is a combination of those two. Technology is extremely important but creative marketing and promotions are important.”

Other new merchants signed by Shop.com include Hawaiian Wedding Shop, New Zealand Nature Co., As We Change, Royal Pottery US, Royal Art Glass US and Swedish Art Glass US.

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